Sudanese security forces and police fired live ammunition and tear gas at hundreds of people in central Khartoum Monday, as demonstrators marched toward president Omar al-Bashir’s palace calling on him to leave office.
Armored vehicles with machine guns and hundreds of police and security forces had deployed to areas across the capital in the early morning to help prevent the march.
In downtown Khartoum, protests began with crowds of men and women chanting “freedom, peace and justice” and “revolution is the people’s choice,” but riot police quickly confronted the people.
The capital’s normally busy city center was deserted after police fired on protesters.
Authorities have shut down schools and social media sites, declared a curfew and a state of emergency after protests first broke out in the northeast on December 19 and quickly moved into the capital. Security forces have repeatedly used tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition against demonstrations.
The demonstrations were sparked by price hikes and unrest, quickly leading to the president’s ruling party’s headquarters being set ablaze and expanding into anti-government demonstrations around the country with protesters demanding president al-Bashir to leave office. The death toll has stood at 37 for more than a week, but is likely higher.
The march was called by doctors, teachers and engineers. “We will march towards the presidential palace calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down,” the Sudanese Professionals’ Association said in a statement late Sunday.